I painted sideshow banners between 1978 and 1994. The banners were tased on the traditional style practiced by Fred Johnson and Snap Wyatt.
Most of these pieces were commissioned by Tim Deremer, who ran several traveling shows, including The Palace of Illusion, Gabora the Gorilla Girl and Myrna the Mermaid. The banners also showed in galleries and were recently featured on American Pickers.
The banners were a blast to paint and it was a great subculture of fascinating people. I still miss it.
I made my way through college painting sideshow banners and continued into the mid-90s. The banners showed on the midways and in galleries. The Human Blockhead was always one of my favorites.
This is the Palace of Illusion show, owned by the late Tim Deremer. The banner line had sixteen 7'x8' banners, plus the 17' entrance banners. Some of the original banners are still touring.
The Elephant Skin Boy and Serpentina, 1981, painted for the Palace of Illusion.